Sunday, July 8, 2012

Parallel Texts: Waugh and Diogenes

Evelyn Waugh, in a letter to his wife, October 13, 1940, from a troopship
... In fact I am friends with all on board but I do wish sometimes I could meet an adult. They are all little boys. Some of them naughty little boys like the Brigadier, most of them delicious & just what I want Bron to be at the age of ten, but not one of them a mature man.
Diogenes, as translated by Guy Davenport in 7 Greeks:
Men nowhere, but real boys at Sparta.


  1. Surely Waugh was not known for mature behaviour either. I wonder what traits he thought constituted being adult.

  2. It is true that quite a number of his letters, some written years after the war, do involve getting drunk and saying offensive things. I have to think that he had in mind the ability to articulate intellectual and artistic judgments; to hold a conversation, really. (If you have a copy of Put Out More Flags handy, look at Ambrose Silk's reflection on the death of conversation in the restaurant scene early on.)